Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 10, 2013

Americans can’t count, and not so good at tech;  Smartphone apps to make you smarter;  20 free PC apps to ease daily tasks;  WhatsApp crypto flaw threatens privacy;  80% of smartphones still unprotected from malware;  Windows Firewall Control 4.0.2.2.  For $49, a doctor will see you now;  GTA V sets 7 world records.

20 free PC apps to ease daily tasks – Some of the best things in a PC lover’s life are indeed free, but they’re not always obvious. Beyond the free security tools and other must-have programs to install on a new PC lies a whole universe of lesser known, yet no less stellar software that’s just begging for a spot on your hard drive. Need proof? Check out the following 20 supremely handy-dandy programs. None are household names, but all will rock your world.

For $49, a doctor will see you now – online – American Well unveils a new service that connects consumers directly to physicians through their mobile devices for advice — and sometimes even for diagnoses and prescriptions.

Cameo for iPhone Makes Awesome Video Montages in Seconds – There are numerous apps that slap filters on video, and Apple’s own iMovie has some basic features of its own. The new iPhone app Cameo might be the best way to turn your video into something collaborative and cool without a lot of hassle.

The keys are alright: 6 new Android keyboards to try – Find a better way to swipe, thumb-type, or dictate your next text message. If you can choose the keyboard for your desktop computer, then surely you should be allowed to do so on your mobile phone. You can find a plethora of keyboard applications in the Google Play Store, but here’s a small helping of those that are worth a download.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft native Remote Desktop coming to iOS and Android – In a move that’s sure to make the folks at Splashtop less than pleased, the team at Microsoft behind the native Remote Desktop functionality inside Windows have announced extensions to iOS and Android. This means that there will be apps from Microsoft for your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and Android tablet that allow you to see your Windows PC’s desktop from your smaller device.

Americans can’t count, and not so good at tech – report – According to a report by the OECD, America comes only above Italy and Spain in math ability. We’re below average at technological problem-solving. Is this surprising?

Smartphone apps to make you (Americans) smarter – In light of a recent study that shows Americans are below average for math and literacy of all the developed nations, I have rounded up some apps to…well…help my countrymen exercise our collective noggins.

Russia’s Online-Comment Propaganda Army – When my articles about opposition figures are translated and posted on Russian news sites, the comments get downright personal and anti-Semitic. I don’t get too worked up—Internet haters gonna hate, as we all know—but given the outlandishness of their responses (even their fellow angry commenters often try to take them down a notch), it leaves me wondering, “Who are these people?” Now, it seems, we have an answer to where some of this acrimony originates. (recommended by Michael F.)

75 percent of single men dating online looking for love, not sex – A relationship expert insists that whatever men tell their friends, they’re really looking for love. Women, on the other hand, often just want to hook up.

Google Adds TV Show Data to Search Results – Google today rolled out updated search results with more details about TV shows.

Samsung debuts smartphone with curved display, but only for Korea – The new Android phone will only be released in South Korea on Thursday, but is the world’s first to use the curved screen technology, Samsung said Wednesday. The Galaxy Round has a slight arch in its design and is built with a 5.7-inch full HD screen.

How location tracking will change the way you shop – The concept, sometimes called place-based marketing, uses detailed location information, often down to the shelf you’re walking past, to drive sales and give retailers more information about foot traffic in their stores. That means picking up a trail of digital breadcrumbs from people’s smartphones and mobile apps.

Deal with it: Tablets are here to stay – There’s no point living in denial: more and more staff are bringing tablets to work so organisations have to adjust their policies in response.

GOG US government shutdown sale gives free games to government employees – It’s been eight days since the United States government shut down, closing up national parks, museums, and giving non-Congressional government employees a little more free time than they’re used to. To capitalize on the shut down of our country’s capitol, Good Old Games is currently running the Shutdown Promo, bundling seven government-themed games for the low price of $24.93. However, if you can prove you’re a government employee, then you can snag the pack for free.

Clever design lets Fujitsu use a cooling fan in a waterproof tablet – Making a device waterproof means protecting the electronics inside against contact with liquid of any kind. However, if a device uses air cooling, it seems impossible to also make it waterproof without the unit overheating. However, Fujitsu has managed to overcome such a limitation through design.

Comcast Turns Twitter Feed Into TV Remote With ‘See It’ Function – Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Twitter next month will release the new “See It” feature, which allows users to instantly access shows, movies, and sports directly from a tweet

Security:

3 essential techniques to protect your online privacy – No security regimen short of complete hermitage can keep you 100 percent secure. Nevertheless, you can take a few simple precautions to maintain your privacy online and deter all but the most determined bad guys.

Critical WhatsApp crypto flaw threatens user privacy, researchers warn – Messages sent over Wi-Fi and other public channels can be decrypted using known methods.

Juniper study: 80% of smartphones still unprotected from malware, attacks – Analysts expect that figure to hold true for at least the rest of 2013. Analysts acknowledged in the report that a severe lack of awareness among consumers, in particular, is a major attributing factor as to why there is such a low level of mobile security software adoption.

Microsoft ponies up $100K to researcher who figured out new Windows hack in 2 weeks – U.K.-based James Forshaw demonstrates how to bypass Windows 8.1’s defenses, wins first bonus payment in June program.

Company News:

Apple to reveal its new iPads Oct. 22 – Apple will introduce new iPad tablets on Oct. 22, coinciding with the unveiling of the company’s fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini in 2012.

T-Mobile Drops Overseas Data, Text Roaming Charges in 100+ Countries – T-Mobile today announced that it will drop international data and text roaming charges in more than 100 countries, allowing U.S. customers to update Facebook, check Google Maps, or send an email while traveling without incurring a massive roaming bill.

HP no longer playing by Microsoft, Intel rules, exec says – With Microsoft and Intel becoming “outright competitors,” Hewlett-Packard sees most of the PC growth happening outside the Windows market. That means Android, Chrome, and Ubuntu.

Games and Entertainment:

GTA V sets 7 world records – Confirmation of the world records comes from the only source that really counts: the Guinness World Records. Six of those records relate to sales, the seventh is related to the game’s trailer being viewed. Here’s the full list of which records GTA V now holds.

Final Fantasy VI destined for Android and iOS later this year – It has been more than a year since the original Final Fantasy arrived on Android, and soon mobile gamers will be able to enjoy the sixth installment of the game on their iOS and Android devices. This information comes from Square Enix’s director and producer Takashi Tokita, who spoke to the folks over at Kotaku earlier today, saying the release will be a modified version of the original.

PS4 and Xbox One: How long should you wait before buying? – Will the launch PS4 end up a must-have in hindsight like the PS3? Will the Xbox One suffer the 360’s Red Ring of Death? We’re here to help you figure it all out.

EverQuest: Call of the Forsaken expansion pack launches – Sony Online Entertainment has announced the launch of the new expansion pack for EverQuest that is available as of today. The new expansion pack is called EverQuest: Call of the Forsaken and it’s the 20th expansion pack offered for the franchise.

Good news, dudes: Ladies read comics, too – The comic book geek stereotype is alive and well, but it’s as tired as magical resurrections. Forget visions of ponytailed dudes criticizing the picks of pimpled teen boys. The real comic book buying and reading experience—and the audience—is changing.

Off Topic (Sort of):

4 Unbelievably Daring High-Tech Heists – You can’t accuse the criminals in these stories of thinking small – many of them chased after multi-million dollar scores. Some used decidedly brazen methods. And some of them, shockingly enough, were successful.

Riding the Booster with enhanced sound (awesome!! video: 8:32) – From the upcoming Special Edition Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle DVD/BluRay by NASA/Glenn a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound. The sound is all from the camera microphones and not fake or replaced with foley artist sound. The Skywalker sound folks just helped bring it out and make it more audible. (suggested by Michael F.)

TALOS: real Iron Man being built by the US Army – In a revelation that somehow escaped the eyes of the press (including ours) for months, a May 28th release from the United States Army suggests that their researchers are working on a request from SOCOM – the U.S. Special Operations Command for technologies. This request was made for a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS.

Your car is about to go open source – Automakers want to standardize on a Linux-based OS that would make vehicle infotainment systems act more like smartphones.

Fox News replaces news desks with absurdly large touchscreens – Always out of touch, Fox News has decided to join the 21st century and upgrade its newsroom. Shepard Smith gives us a tour of what is called the Fox News Deck. What at first seems like a benign modern-day newsroom, turns out to be a scene straight from of a cartoon upon closer inspection.

Something to think about:

Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.”

–     Oscar Wilde

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tweaking.com – Set Windows Services To Default Startup 2.0.0 – This will set the Windows services to their default startup state. This tool is also a part of Windows Repair (All In One).

NoScript 2.6.8.2 – The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and others mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript and Java execution only for trusted domains of your choice (e.g. your home-banking web site). NoScript’s unique whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even not known yet!) with no loss of functionality…

Windows Firewall Control 4.0.2.2 – Windows Firewall Control is a nifty little application which extends the functionality of the Windows Firewall and provides quick access to the most frequent options of Windows Firewall. It runs in the system tray and allows user to control the native firewall easily without having to waste time by navigating to the specific part of the firewall. This is the best tool to manage the native firewall from Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US head of intelligence: NSA wants to break Tor to get at the bad guys – Following revelations about the NSA’s attacks on Tor, James Clapper explained that the intelligence community is interested in picking apart anonymising tools because that’s where the enemies of the US and its allies hang out and plot their nefarious deeds.

Post reporter: Here’s why we refused the NSA’s demand to censor the names of PRISM companies – Barton Gellman, the Washington Post reporter who broke the news of the NSA online content collection program PRISM, says the government asked him to suppress the names of the nine companies participating in the program.

NSA saves zero-day exploits for high-value targets – The National Security Agency has a wide-ranging menu of software exploits at its disposal to tailor the right attack to the targets it wants to monitor, according to a blog post published Wednesday by security expert Bruce Schneier. While the program allows analysts to operate in almost absolute secrecy, the NSA’s pursuit of an expansive surveillance program has largely defeated those efforts, his essay concludes.

NSA chief to telecom industry: Trust us – The NSA needs to regain the trust of U.S. residents and the country’s telecom and Internet companies, General Keith Alexander said Wednesday, following recent media leaks about massive data collection and surveillance operations. (Absurdity has become necessary.)

Russia revs up “PRISM on steroids” to monitor all Winter Olympics communications – According to a dossier compiled by Russian journalists, their country’s powerful security service has been taking the steps to install near-ubiquitous monitoring.

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